👋 Welcome to Referral Rock
We’re excited to get you up and running. Follow this 9-step guide to create and launch your first successful referral or affiliate program.
This guide is not an exhaustive list of everything you can and should do with your program. We’ll cover recommendations for additional automation, advanced promotion, re-engagement campaigns, and analytics in other articles.
Key Concepts and Terminology
Before getting started, it’s helpful to understand some key terms and concepts.
Program: everything related to a single referral channel is managed through the program editor (pages, workflows, rewards, etc). Other terms include campaigns or promotions.
Member: the person sharing your business with new customers or users. Common types of members include existing customers, partners, employees, etc.
Referral: the people engaging with your business for the first time. Often they are a friend or colleague of the member. Other terms include lead, new customer, subscriber, etc.
Reward/Reward Rules: the structure (triggers and conditions) that determines when and what incentive you give to the member, the referral, or both.
Payout: the mechanism for how you fulfill/distribute the reward. Available options include Gift Cards, PayPal, Bank Transfers, Coupons, and Manual/Custom.
Step 1: Design share experience
Configure how people share your business and what they say to their friends and colleagues.
Navigate to the Share Tab of the Program Editor to:
Pick your Share Widget (this determines where your members can share)
Edit your Social & Mobile Messages (this is the pre-drafted social and text message)
Edit your Email Message (this is the pre-drafted email)
Sharing best practices:
Keep the messaging friendly and informal (remember it's from a friend)
Highlight the benefits and why the referral should care (it's likely their first time hearing of you)
Mention any referral rewards to make the referral (and member) feel special
Use active language with a clear call to action
Learn more about customizing the sharing experience
Step 2: Update member portal
This member portal is the primary hub for your members to access and share your program. This is their personal space to share and see everything related to their engagement with your program.
Navigate to the Portal Tab of the Program Editor to:
Change the page content and text
Configure branding and design
Member portal best practices:
Explain (in simple terms) how the program works and the benefits of sharing
Mention any rewards (both for the member and the referral)
Include a relevant image that reflects your brand and the program
Learn more about customizing the member portal
Step 3: Set referral destination
Determine where you want referrals to go once they click on a link or message from the member. This is often the first time they are learning about your business.
Navigate to the Share Tab of the Program Editor and pick between two options:
Hosted Landing Page: build a page using the Referral Rock page builder
Your website: redirect referrals to a page on your site
Referral page best practices:
Strong, above the fold, headline that clearly states the benefits and shows why the referral should care about your business and offer
Simple call to action that is easy for the referral to complete on their first visit
Call to action is above the fold and uses active language
Quality image that supports your messaging and highlights the benefits of your offer
Learn more about setting the referral destination
Step 4: Setup referral tracking
Referral tracking consists of two events:
Referral Visit: web visits across the referral lifecycle even before someone converts into a referral (includes number of visits, pages visited, channel, etc.)
Referral Conversion: capture when a referral converts to a customer or lead (this is where an unidentified referral first completes a form on your website or app)
You'll need to install the Referral.js SDK to track the full lifecycle of a referral's web activity and to capture referral conversion via your website.
This is usually done with your web hosting provider’s settings, via Google Tag Manager, or manually by a developer.
Step 5: Create reward rules
Add reward logic for when, how, and what members and referrals will earn. The most common reward is based on a purchased event (usually the approved referral status) but you can create whatever reward structure best matches your business and audience.
Navigate to the Rewards Tab of the Program Editor to create your member and referral rewards.
Reward best practices:
Offer something relevant and exciting to your audience
Trigger reward based on the ultimate behavior you're trying to drive
Rewards should be easy to understand at a glance
Dual-sided rewards (where possible) perform best
Learn more about creating your reward rules
Step 6: Configure program emails
Program event emails are sent to existing members of your program and are automatically generated during certain steps in the referral process.
Navigate to the Email Tab of the Program Editor to configure your program emails.
At a minimum, we recommend enabling the following emails:
Welcome - sent once a new member joins
Welcome Reminder - sent X days (set by you) after a member was added
Monthly Summary - sent at the beginning of each month, includes their program stats and encourages them to continue sharing
Learn more about configuring your program emails
Step 7: Draft launch email
All programs should start with a launch email introducing the program to your potential members. A good launch email includes the following:
Compelling subject line
Engaging language that grabs attention and gets people excited
Highlights the benefits to members and referrals (including any rewards you offer)
Clear call-to-action so people can join and start sharing
The call-to-action should be a button or a link that uses your program's One Click Access Link. This is a dynamic link that lets the email recipient automatically join your program and start sharing without having to register.
Need inspiration? This article has some great email examples.
Step 8: Request program audit
Program audits ensure your program is set up correctly and follows best practices. We’ll review your program for potential issues or gaps in the member and referral journey and make actionable recommendations on how you can make it better.
Step 9: Test and launch
Almost there! Here are a few last-minute items to make sure your launch is successful.
1. End-to-end test
Before launching, it is important to test the entire member and referral journey to confirm that everything is working as expected. You will want to test:
How members join and share
What referrals see when clicking a member link
If referrals are being captured and added to Referral Rock
If rewards are created based on the correct action
Check your Domain Settings (important to set before launching)
Review our testing and troubleshooting guide
2. Promote the program on your marketing website
In addition to the launch email, we highly recommend you include a link to the Program Landing Page on your marketing site (either in the navigation or somewhere else people commonly see).
Your Marketing Landing Page URL can be found on the Launch Tab in the Program Editor.
3. Hit send on your launch email.
Launching your program can feel daunting, but remember that it's the first step to running a successful referral program that you will optimize over time.
💡 If you have any concerns about launching then consider sending the launch email to a smaller subset of users at first to make sure everything works as expected.
Support Center 📖
We have all our help articles like this one, FAQs, how-tos, and best practices all in one place.
Integration Docs 🎓
Check out our comprehensive guides for connecting your referral program to other software such as your website, email marketing system, and customer data platforms.
Chat with support 🗣️
If you'd like some extra assistance with your setup, just reach out via chat to our support team. We're always ready to help.